A seven-year-old motorsport marvel is taking on and beating kids up to four years older in the demanding environment of stock car racing.
Braidwood Primary School pupil James Russell, of Carluke, is gaining confidence all the time and achieved a top five finish in his latest outing in the seven to 11 years category of the Brisca Micro F2 class.
“We are racing 12 laps up and down the country on tarmac and shale and James is finding his feet,” his dad James Snr (42) told the Carluke and Lanark Gazette.
“He started in March and has since raced all around the UK, from Crimond up in Peterhead to Milton Hall in Carlisle.
“James is the smallest driver in his group.
“There are 30 to 36 cars in each race and they reach speeds of up to 40mph.
“He was hooked right away and likes the thrill of racing.
“It is supposed to be non contact but sometimes stuff does happen.
“My girlfriend Tracy Henderson – James’s mum – watches his race through closed eyes.
“But the security is excellent. The drivers wear fireproof suits, crash helmets, neck braces, harnesses, fireproof gloves and balaclavas.”
Rather than getting into stock car racing because his dad competed, young James took up the sport due to his dad’s admiration of some top Carluke-based drivers.
“I have never been a stock car driver,” dad added. “When I told James about the sport it was something he really wanted to try.”
“I told him used to go and watch the stock cars many years ago before James was born.
“I used to see Carluke guys like Kenny Purdie, the Shevill brothers (Graeme and Stuart) and Ross Callan. I have massive respect for those guys.
“It takes a lot of guts for these guys to get into these cars, onto an oval and make contact with rivals, shunt them and win races.
“It’s a while before the seven to 11-year-olds move up to contact motorsport.
“The cars they race in are really well built, with good roll cages. There has never been anybody injured.
“The season runs from March to November.
“Next year we have plans to race in the Isle of Man and Holland.
“Formula One is ultimately what James wants to do.
“He loves cars and engines, while also playing football for Milton Rovers.”
James Snr, who works as a site manager for Carnwath-based BHC Structural Steel, is originally from Thankerton but has lived in Carluke for 16 years.
He thanks young James’s sponsors BHC Ltd, Plantfitter.com, ACD Systems and RG Autos.